GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
First Name:
Omar Adam
Title of Paper:
The Emergence of Children’s Media and Animation Industry in the Gulf states
Paper Proposal Text :
In Arab countries in general and Gulf countries in particular the average age of the population is below the world average. Despite their high numbers,for a long timeArab children were not considered a target audience by Arab media-owners and producers. For many decades most of the Arab television companies’ budgets did not even include financial dedications to children’s programs. During the 1980-s and 1990-s no animation studios were established in the Arab World so local television channels relied on import form Europe, Japan and the United States. In the recentyears, however, this situation has changed dramatically. Today there are more than one Pan-Arab children’s channelscompeting for the admiration of the Arabic-speaking young generation. Also, the numbers of homegrown animation productions are booming. Not surprisingly, the geographical center of the rising Arab children’s media industry is the Arab Gulf where political, social and economic circumstances enable the growth of such enterprises.
Al Jazeera’s Children's Channel (AJCC), the first Pan-Arab edutainment channel, was launched in 2005. It is addressing an audience that is between 7 and 15 years old with a self-declared mission to „encourage their love of learning and discovery”. AJCC selects a high percentage of its programs from the international market, but there isan increasing number of co-productions (such as the Malay-Qatari Saladin: the Animated Series), and purely local productions and shows as well. Beside its educational mission AJCC could play an important role in building brand loyalty infuture viewers of the channels of the al-Jazeera group.
The other player in the new-grown Arabic children’s media industry is Dubai. The Dubai experience started with the liberalizing economic-policies of the Dubai government that aimed to make Dubai a free market place. Dubai Media City has been built as a part of this project in order to boost UAE's media foothold. By the present day it has become a regional hub for media organizations and hosts a number of animation studios. Starting from 2006 Dubai native animations such as Freej, Sha'abiyat al Kartoonand compatriots are gaining more and more popularity not only in the Emirates but other Arab countries as well. In 2011 the Arabic version of the Cartoon Network was launched in Dubai. The lineup of Cartoon Network Arabic is not up-to-date with the original English languagechannel. By signing various partnership deals with Arab production companies such as the Dubai Lammtara Pictures and the Jordanian-based Rubicon Group Holding it offers a wide- range of localised shows aswell.
Despite the importance of the topic, Arabic children’sMedia and Animations havenot attracted many academic attention before. However, the increasing domination of the Gulf countries in children’s media would move further the gravity of cultural dominance from Egypt and Syria towards the Gulf. On the other hand –as the Western experience shows- itwould possibly improve the advertising market of products targeted to children that would shape the consumption habits in the Gulf.